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Friday, August 15, 2014 

Another exaggeration of monetary value

CNBC's published the gazallionth claim that old comics collections could be a gold mine:
If you have a collection of old comic books in your basement, it might be time to dig them out.

Several recent big-ticket sales bolster the belief among several analysts that collectible comics are becoming a viable alternative investment for some people. [...]
Even "collectible" comics aren't proving very lucrative, and anyone looking to make money off of Rob Liefeld products would have to be out of their minds. As earlier reports I found prove, some of these collections that weren't done for the entertainment value have proven far less valuble than expected.
The market for rare comics is growing partially thanks to Hollywood, said Vincent Zurzolo, COO of Metropolis Collectibles and a 27-year veteran of the business.
But only the rarities, not the modern output, and if the stories are terrible, then owning those could be extremely embarrassing.
"I think the advent of the movies, I think the increased visibility of comic book prices, the realized prices at marketplace, have really helped to galvanize customers, bidders, people looking for alternative investments to find comic books," said Zurzolo, who is getting ready to sell early issues of Batman owned by creator Bob Kane.

The economic recession in 2008 is another factor, Zurzolo said.

"After the stock market was extremely volatile, the real estate market was extremely volatile. So people were looking for tangible assets to put their money into. And what did they see? They saw all these superhero movies coming out. And they said 'wow, maybe I can invest in the stuff I loved from when I was a kid,'" said Zurzolo, who owns Comicconnnect.com, which sold [Nicholas] Cage's record-breaking comic book.
If the stock market and real estate could end up volatile, why couldn't the comics become the same? Even plastic toys can turn out that way. Why not invest in agriculture? That's not something that could use a little bit of help from everybody?

However, they do say towards the end:
Experts warn that not all comics are good investments, so how can you tell if yours is collectible? The key is rare issues, preferably that feature the debut of celebrated characters or key plot twists, said Zurzulo.

And the older, the better. The 1930s and '40s are the golden age of comics, and those are some of the most-prized titles.
Well doesn't that prove why comics aren't a good investment, because only the Golden Age products are rarities as pamphlets? Beyond that, very few have as much worth, and what if one day, the Golden Age pamphlets turn out to be a bad investment too? As for "key plots", I think it's a safe bet One More Day in Spider-Man will never be regarded as a valuble one.
So if you're looking to buy comics as an investment, you should "collect what you like, figure out what your budget is and talk to an expert," Zurzolo said.
I think some people who believe this should talk to a psychologist. They feed the MSM's selective interests in the medium, which is either covered for publicity stunts involving meaningless character deaths or the speculator market that should've been put to rest in the 90s, but has sprung up again in an era when movie adaptations are being made, while storytelling quality is never an issue.

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Investing in comics is a catch-22. The older ones are valuable because they are rare. That is, the supply is lower than the demand. But those comics are already expensive, so you would have to spend hundreds or even thousands to get key issues (e.g., Avengers #4, Suspense #39, Amazing Fantasy #15) in the hope that the demand (and the price) will go even higher. Golden Age comics are even more rare, so you would have to spend six (and, in a few cases, seven) figures for key issues, such as the first appearances of Superman, Batman, and Captain Marvel.

But there is no guarantee that those comics will increase in value, and, even if they do, it could take many years.

Recent comics have their own catch-22. The people who buy them now are either collectors or investors. Either way, they save their comics (as opposed to the 1960's and earlier, when comics were bought by kids who read them once, then threw them away).

And key issues (death or revival of a character, first issue of a new series, "or key plot twists") are hyped in advance. Dealers order extra copies from their distributors, and collectors (and speculators) buy multiple copies. These comics will never be rare.

And it's hard to sell something at a profit when everyone who wants it already has it.

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